Austin, TX —Consumer Reports calls on the Texas legislature to strengthen H.B. 4, a consumer data privacy bill that was recently sign into law by Governor Abbott.
The law includes some important consumer rights, such as the right to know the information companies have collected about them, the right to correct and delete that information, and the right to limit some data disclosures through universal opt-out mechanisms. However, the law only applies to businesses that sell personal information and are not a small business under the Small Business Administration definition, leaving a wide swath of information uncovered. The law also contains insufficient enforcement mechanisms and allows companies to discriminate against consumers who exercise their right to opt out by denying service or charging extra.
“The Texas legislature should use the next legislative session to make much needed improvements to strengthen this law,” said Matt Schwartz, policy analyst at Consumer Reports. “We applaud the legislature for including universal opt-out, which will make it easier for Texas consumers to stop companies from selling or sharing their personal data and information. However, the law should apply to a broader swath of businesses and should include enforcement mechanisms that will actually incentivize them to comply the first time around. Consumers deserve stronger protections than the ones this bill provides.”
Texas becomes the latest state to enact a comprehensive privacy law, joining the ranks of California, Utah, Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Tennessee, and Florida.